Almost all books for parents focus on the way children develop. Ellen Galinsky, instead, writes about how parents develop. Drawing on the work in adult development of Erik Erikson and Daniel Levinson, she describes six distinct stages in the life of a parent: the image-making that occurs during pregnancy; the nurturing role that swallows parents up from birth through the first couple of years; the authority parents must develop as small children show independence; the interpretive stage when parents explain the world and their values to school-age children; the interdependent stage when teenagers challenge authority; and the departure years when parents let go and take stock of their accomplishments and failures.
Ellen Galinsky has been on the faculty of Bank Street College of Education in New York City for over twenty years. She directs many national and international research projects there and is a consultant on child and adult development to day-care programs, corporations, and the media. She is the author of The New Extended Family, Family Matters in the Preschool Years, and Beginnings.